I would like to know the Russian word for a suicide committed by a warrior when he failed at his duties or wanted to avoid being captured, with the suicide motivation being to restore honor for himself and his family.

I recall reading about General Alexander Samsonov, who committed a suicide following the military disaster at Tannenberg, and I vaguely recall reading about some other Russian officers who, like Samsonov, committed a suicide in relation to "честь офицера."

I know that the general Russian word for a suicide is "самоубийство," but I want to learn a more specific term reflecting what I described above. I was unable to find any such Russian word on my own.

  • There is no such word.
    – Anixx
    Jul 7, 2019 at 7:12
  • There only form of suicide accepted by russian moral - is to prevent enemies from getting military secrets , wich is not seemed as suicide, but as military action (like suicidial attack of last resort). All other form of suicides are considred as sin, cowardice and betrayal of a God's will. It means that suiside is directly opposite to "restoring honor" for Russians.
    – ksbes
    Jul 8, 2019 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Russian culture doesn't have a tradition similar to харакири/сэппуку. Servicemen were never obliged to rinse their dishonor with blood. To my knowledge there's no succinct term for this act.

There's a phrase смыть позор / пятно позора / бесчестье кровью. However it rather refers to restoration of one's good name by way of exceptional valor in the battle and not necessarily with death, suffering a wound is also a valid way to achieve that.

  • 2
    @Mitsuko There's definitely no specific word for this but it is considered a preferred option (among professional military men) to kill oneself in certain circumstances. Normally this is expressed with a full phrase like застрелиться, чтобы избежать позора/бесчестья/плена or застрелиться от позора / не вынеся позора (when позор already happened).
    – tum_
    Jul 6, 2019 at 21:18
  • 1
    Other set phrases for committing a suicide are "покончить с собой" and "свести счёты с жизнью".
    – tum_
    Jul 6, 2019 at 21:24

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